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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=23428
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 28, 2017 04:27 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Tarah Toohil
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship – Adding definition of “Dyslexia” to “Children with Exceptionalities” in Public School Code (former HB 1662 of 2015)
 
In the near future, we plan to re-introduce legislation amending the Public School Code (Article 13, Section 1371, definition of Children with Exceptionalities) by adding dyslexia to what constitutes a disability, requiring specially designed instruction.

Federal regulations identify the 13 disability categories mandated to be addressed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In Pennsylvania, we have adopted by reference these federal definitions (at 22 Pa. Code 14.102). Pennsylvania has not, to date, adopted any additional disability categories beyond those mandated in federal regulations. Under the IDEA regulations, there is no standalone disability category of dyslexia. Dyslexia is identified as an included condition under the category of Specific Learning Disability in addition to other conditions, but is oftentimes not addressed in schools where their budgets are not adequate.

Our legislation would add the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia to the Public School Code, thereby increasing the required educational services that are offered to students with dyslexia.

Act 69 of 2014 was passed through a bipartisan effort which resulted in a Dyslexia Pilot Project, but it will be a considerable amount of time before the findings of this program are realized and recommendations can be instituted to benefit children with dyslexia. There is a strong desire from many in the dyslexia community to promote the intensive reading instruction models such as Orton-Gillingham or Wilson Reading approaches for students identified as dyslexic. These approaches have shown very favorable results in remediating reading difficulties for students with dyslexia.

Please join us in sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (717) 787-3181,

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Introduced as HB1271